By: Kara Franker
Navigate through Miami’s twists and turns with this driving guide.
Planning a trip to Miami is much more than packing luggage and booking flights. Arriving in a new city, may be especially daunting for international visitors. Here’s what you need to know.
Driving & Traffic Regulations
● Keep your driver license, proof of insurance, registration or car rental documents with you at all times.
● Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
● Right turns are permitted at red lights unless otherwise indicated.
● Always note posted speed limits: 15 mph in school zones, 30 mph in business or residential areas and 55 mph on most expressways, unless road conditions warrant lower speeds.
● All passengers must wear seat belts.
● Children under 5 years old must be fastened securely in government-approved car seats.
● Texting while driving is not allowed.
● In the case of rain or fog, turn on your car’s windshield wipers and headlights (not hazard lights).
For more information, please visit the Division of Driver Licenses. DMV’s are open Tuesday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. Hours vary by location.
Miami’s Main Highways
Florida's Turnpike, Dolphin Expressway (836) and the Airport Expressway (State Road 112) are toll roads. The Palmetto Expressway (826) is a toll-free road. Toll roads require all drivers to pay a fee via what’s called SunPass.
How to Use the SunPass Toll System
SunPass is an electronic prepaid tolling system used on most Florida toll roads. A small, pocket sized device called a "SunPass Portable transponder" or a "SunPass Mini Sticker transponder" is attached to the inside of your car windshield, just below the rearview mirror. That device communicates with the toll plaza overhead readers via radio frequency.
As your car passes through SunPass lanes, the toll charges are electronically deducted from your prepaid toll account. Transponders can be purchased at local supermarkets, pharmacy stores, AAA South offices and Amscot branches. To open a SunPass account, visit sunpass.com.
If you are driving your own car, you can purchase your own SunPass transponder or mini sticker to attach to the inside of your car. If you are driving a rental car, make sure to ask your rental car company about their toll payment policies. Most rental car companies charge a fee to use a SunPass. Always ask the rental car company ahead of time to find out what to expect and to avoid paying extra fees.
How to Use the I-95 Express Lanes
For those driving northbound, the I-95 express lanes offer a faster option to beat heavy traffic delays. To use the 95 express lane, you must have a SunPass transponder, or drive a registered hybrid vehicle, or meet the carpool restrictions. If you are using a rental car, you may purchase a PlatePass or Pass24 at your rental car agency location. Motorcyclists may use the lanes toll-free.
Drivers may enter the express lanes from eastbound State Road 112, northbound I-95 (just south of SR 112) or from the Northwest 10 Avenue ramps to I-95. For more information, visit 95express.com.
Once in the express lanes, it’s important to note:
1. There isn’t an exit for approximately seven miles, until just north of 151st Street.
2. You can’t stop inside the express lanes.
3. Driving around or between the plastic poles is not allowed.
Get Driving Updates About Road Conditions with Florida 511
To ensure a safe driving experience in Miami, use the Florida Department of Transportation’s 511 system for 24/7 traffic updates on all of Florida’s major roadways. Call 511 toll free, visit FL511.com or use the free Florida 511 iPhone app for quick traffic updates. For more recent updates, check out the FL511_Southeast Twitter feed.
Florida 511 allows you to create a custom profile with unlimited routes for up to two phone numbers. You may select English or Spanish as your preferred language. Then you’ll receive a phone call, text, or email alerts about incidents on your selected routes. When you call 511 from a registered phone number, you will receive updates on your custom routes, as well as other statewide traffic information. You will not be able to access your Florida 511 routes from a phone not listed on your account. For more information, visit FL511.com.
Tips for Parking in Miami
Miami is a big metropolis, so you’ll want to expect to pay to park in most areas of the city. Rates vary depending on the neighborhood and how long you plan to park your car.
The Miami Parking Authority operates most of the public parking spaces in Downtown, Coconut Grove, Brickell, Little Havana, Wynwood and the Design District (including public lots, metered street parking and garages). The easiest way to pay for parking in these areas is to download the Pay by Phone app. And the good news is that you can use the same exact app whenever you’re paying to park in the City of Coral Gables.
The City of Miami Beach manages parking on South Beach and surrounding neighborhoods. Watch carefully for signs that state whether street parking is for residents only or is available to the public. The easiest way to pay for parking on Miami Beach is to download the ParkMobile app. And because parking can sometimes be scarce (especially during peak travel times), we recommend using the ParkMe - Miami Beach app, which will show you instantly where parking spots are available.
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